Elixir part 3 – The paradoxes of Melancholy3 July 2022
Amelia found a seat not far from the dead teenager and threw herself on it as she could hardly bear the crescendo of the wailing that emanated from the Melancholists. The wails subsided after a while and the Melancholists slowly exited the burial ground passing by the parents and other family of the young teenager and offering condolences to them. Amelia knew they would soon be gone to their dwellings all around Melancholy. She wished to see how they entered their dwellings that seemed hermetically shut and asked if she could follow them. The Melancholists accepted in hope of making of her an ally who could create the Elixir their breed needed so much. Even they, as a matter of fact, would do better with some drops of Elixir to make their lifeline longer and the beauty of their life greater.
Amelia followed a crowd of Melancholists back to their dwellings and she saw one family after the other slide into the slit that revealed itself to them and be gone into their mushroom-like dwellings. She realized that the slits would appear only to the owners of the mushroom and not anyone else – not even the other residents of Melancholy. One of the Melancholists by her side told her that it was only if the owners gave specific orders to the membrane that covered their dwelling that it would open to someone else. The orders had to be accompanied by a ritual if the dwelling was to open to a non-resident of Melancholy. This was to ensure a double protection from a potential non-resident of Melancholy trying to harm the Melancholists by forcing them to say the orders. Indeed, even if the orders could be given under constraint the ritual could only be made by someone who was free of all constraint.
Amelia watched them disappear one after another in their dwellings and realized that on the other side of Melancholy far from the burial grounds, there was a group gathered and whose collective sorrow seemed to draw her in like a magnet. After the last family had gone into their dwelling, she headed towards the group of sorrowful Melancholists. When she reached them, she realized that they were all youngsters, so beautiful that she could not identify who was the most beautiful of all. It was as if their features kept morphing and the one she looked at seemed always more beautiful than the one she had looked at just before. Despite so much beauty, they were full of an agonizing sorrow that seemed to be tearing them apart. They talked about their fallen friend in hushed voices and seemed to be betting on who would go next.
Amelia asked them why it was that they needed to shorten their lives and they answered as if surprised by the question that this had always been the case. Amelia assured them that they did not need to follow what had been done and that they did not need to shorten their lives. Somehow, they seemed to believe it was the only way that their parents could live longer and were happy to gift them with their lives. Besides, they said that while they were alive, all they could feel is sorrow and woe and they simply could not live with such a heavy burden. They were therefore doubly happy to gift their life away. Amelia asked them how they could possibly feel sorrow and woe in such a beautiful place and one of the taller ones answered that behind the beauty lay the thought of the death of their parents so they could only see the death and the beauty of the surroundings evaded them. It would seem like they had uncovered these feelings after they reached the age of twelve.
Amelia thought that it was such a strange paradox that the young ones should live in a place of beauty but shun it and concentrate on the sorrow and giving their life away for the elders while the elders of Melancholy not only found the place beautiful but were also able to get within it the gift of life from their youngsters. It was not a gift of extending the life eternally like the Elixir though but a gift of just a few more years. The Elders appreciated Melancholy and the gift of the youngsters but at the same time wept the passing of their youngsters and their gift that they so wanted to return and have their youngsters healed by the Elixir. It seemed like Melancholy was indeed a place of paradoxes.
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